Some good news just before Christmas. Let’s hope to see a lot more of this in 2021.
This afternoon, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer granted a commutation to Michael Thompson. On May 31, 1996, Thompson was sentenced to 40-60 years in prison on charges stemming from an arrest for a low-level, nonviolent marijuana sale. And despite an exemplary record while incarcerated, contracting COVID-19 in prison, and the state of Michigan legalizing adult-use cannabis sales Thompson was, until today, expected to die behind bars.
In large part thanks to your calls, emails, and letters, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Parole Board made the decision to end the injustice that was Michael’s de-facto life sentence. We are so grateful to all of the individuals, organizations, and advocates who worked tirelessly to secure Michael’s freedom. Though this development is long overdue, we are overwhelmed with joy knowing that Michael’s family can expect to welcome him home in a few short weeks.
When we spoke with Michael earlier today, we were once again overwhelmed by his optimism and generosity. Despite having spent twenty-five years of his life behind bars due to such a gross miscarriage of justice, he reaffirmed his commitment to serving as an advocate for the tens of thousands of others still suffering the devastating consequences of marijuana prohibition. Michael’s unflagging desire to use his powerful voice in service of others gives us tremendous hope for the future. Please consider supporting Michael as he works to rebuild his life by donating to his freedom fund this holiday season.
For our part, working alongside Michael and his family during this long and difficult journey has only bolstered our resolve to ensure “full freedom” for the tens of thousands of other people still incarcerated across the country due to our unjust, discriminatory, and ineffective policy of marijuana prohibition.
We can’t thank you enough for empowering us to do this critically important work.